Friday, December 28, 2018


Guess who I found peeking out of my stocking?
On Christmas day I was shocked to find son Austin and grand-dog Izzy awake just as early as me. It was nice to have company for a change, while I waited for the sun to come up and rouse everyone else.

Calvin's First Peek
Christmas Jammies?
Ooh! Wow! A Guitar! And a House! And Blocks!

Have you ever heard of the game called Watch Ya Mouth?

It involves a little plastic device that prevents you from using your lips when you speak. You have to read whatever is on the card you pick (usually something with lots of p's and b's and m's in it) and your partners have to try and guess what you are saying. It can be pretty dang hilarious!

Every few years Santa runs across a new "weapon" that catches his eye -- usually some version of a Nerf gun -- and he can't resist buying one for each of the kids. He usually tucks them out of sight, then tells them all at once so they can make a mad dash for them and run outside to battle it out. The first one to get outside and get their weapon loaded has the advantage of being able to bombard the others as they come out the door. This year it was "silly string" guns!

Calvin wants in on the fun!
After a big brunch feast prepared by Papa John, the others got dressed and headed off to the movie theater, while Calvin and I stayed here to play with our new toys. He seemed happy enough, even though I noticed dark purple shadows under his eyes, and that he was constantly rubbing them and his nose. However, when he woke up from his nap, he was decidedly UN-happy, and wouldn't stop sobbing until Mama and Dada came back, quickly loaded up their car, took him home, and made a doctor's appointment for the next day. Come to think of it, that's pretty much how last year's celebration ended too!

Sure enough, the doctor says he seems to be suffering from allergies, just like his daddy.

Why, oh why, does Cedar Fever season have to coincide with the holidays?

Luckily, son Austin had a new friend to play with, after everyone else deserted him.

Meet Vector, his tiny robot!

Thursday, December 27, 2018


On Christmas Eve Hubby and I made a quick run into town to take care of a few last minute errands.  First we grabbed a bite of lunch at Wimberley Cafe, where the festive window decor made me feel like I'd been transported back to one of my childhood hangouts in Hillside Village -- the little neighborhood shopping center in Dallas where I grew up.

Then I headed off to Rancho Queso for some cheese and crackers...

and hubby headed off to the little liquor store that just went in across the street. Hard to believe this town was completely dry when we first moved up here, and the only way you could get anything to drink in town was to join a "club" that one or two of the restaurants had. Anyhoo, I finished my errand before Hubby did, so I went over to join him. Good thing I did, 'cause guess what  I spotted, soon as I walked in that door?  This!

Merry Christmas to me!
Not long after we got back home, the critters began to arrive.

Then it was time to finish up our Christmas feast of standing rib roast, Yorkshire puddings (popovers), mashed potatoes and roasted Brussels sprouts.

Calvin provided the entertainment.

Little Goob Man barely made it through dinner before running out of steam. Once he was in bed, Austin and Areej went to work on dessert -- two different versions of Sudanese Basbousa, a semolina cake, served with amazing hot chocolate made from their own special mix. Oh yeah, almost forgot. They brought Guinness cupcakes too!

Then it was time to kick back with our traditional "bad Christmas movie" while Lexi put together any toys that needed assembling, one of which came from IKEA. Good thing she's an IKEA wizard! In case you're interested, this year's not-as-awful-as-some-we've-seen-feature-film was Santa's Slay.

Last but certainly not least, we all laid out our stockings and left Santa John to do his magic!

Sunday, December 23, 2018


Happy Cedar Fever Season, Y'all!

Thursday, December 20, 2018


Once the kiddos had finished unwrapping all their gifts, it was our turn. Several years back we decided to switch to a white-elephant-style gift exchange, where everyone gets a number and has the option to choose one from under the tree, or steal one from someone else. Since we never actually mandated whether they were to be gag gifts or something useful, one just never knows what one might get!

Pick a number -- any number!

My hubby got a funny game about bananas, which came in the little yellow pouch you see dangling from his hands in the photo above.  Now, do you see what my son-in-law Nate is doing with his phone in that photo? That boy is dangerous! Next day he had turned that little video into a rather disturbing "gif" that appeared on facebook, for all the world to see! Guess he forgot who fills his stocking with all the best stuff each year!

Can't wait to play this game, all about your crazy relatives!
Wow! A pizza snuggie!

Hmmm, looks like Sant's elf is sleeping on the job!
Best surprise of all (although I wasn't so sure about that when my niece and nephew told me I had to tromp down the hill in the dark to see it ) was discovering that they had secretly adorned  "Our Lady of the Grotto" with a twinkling santa hat and a solar spotlight to make her more visible at night!

Have I ever mentioned how much I love my crazy family?

Now it's time to gear up for Round II!

Wednesday, December 19, 2018


Cooks in the kitchen assemble our appetizers...
while chefs in the garage prepare our Cajun shrimp boil and some cheesey garlic bread!
Calvin Meets New Cousins And Decorates His First Christmas Cookie!

Surely Will and Dani did not give Calvin an electric drum set...

I see Papa is eyeing Calvin's snazzy new cap.
He stole it!
To Be Continued...

Monday, December 17, 2018


This weekend was Christmas: Round One for us, where my three siblings and their families head down from Dallas, Ft. Worth, and beyond for an early Siblings Celebration, so that we can then all be home with our individual families or in-laws on Christmas day. It's been so long since we've had any small ones in the family, we'd forgotten what it was like! This year, not only is our little Goober Bear a rambunctious 2 1/2-year-old, but also my brother now has a couple of grands to add into the mix! Quite a change, let me tell you, but all for the better. Today I will just share with you a few pictures of the calm before the storm.

First to arrive? My nephew Kevin and his wife Goya, who not only left an expectant heifer just to be with us, but also hauled all the necessary equipment and a huge cooler full of shrimp, sausage and crab legs, so they could cook up an old-fashioned Cajun Shrimp Boil for our Christmas feast!

Is it any wonder I love my family so much?